Posted: December 2nd, 2015
What your Essay Should Contain
Your essay should be between 1800-2000 words long. It should be fully referenced with a bibliography. If proper referencing is lacking, your essay will fail. But it is important that your essay should contain the following features:
(a) clarifying your question and any conceptual issues involved.
(b) The key analytical and explanatory issues raised by the question
(c) etting out the structure of your essay: the main things that you are going to do to answer your question
(a) The key steps in your response to the question: does your argument hang together logically?
(b) The counter-arguments to your own: have you addressed them?
(c) The evidence you use against opposing arguments.
(d) The evidence you use to support your arguments.
(a) are the clear and strong?
(b) Do they rest on the argument and evidence in the text?
(c) Do they fully address the question?
(a) are your citations in the text clear and accurate?
(b) does your bibliography at the end match the citations in the text?
(c) Is your referencing system consistently applied?
Criteria of assessment of essays
The first three criteria are the really critical ones and should account for at least two thirds of the overall grade.
The fourth criteria is an essential one. If the work is not referenced at all, the examiner has the right to fail it because referencing is meant to show on what basis the author prepared his/her own work.
Demonstrated breadth of reading (i.e. not by the length of the bibliogrphy alone) is something that is assessed by the first three criteria, but it should also be assessed on it own. Less than 5 substantial sources, for example, puts into doubt whether a student can achieve a “good” mark – i.e. in the 60s. The same for overwhelming reliance on internet sources, unless there are no published sources on tthe topic in question.
If the level of competence in written English is so low that the examiner finds it hard to understand what the student is trying to say, this is grounds for a low mark or even a fail.
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